Do not be afraid of mountain runs! By Dominika Stelmach

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Do not be afraid of mountain runs!

For many of us trekking in the mountains is a challenge. 20-30 kilometers’ treks mean a whole day on the walk. It seems to be difficult to even imagine run… Contrary to such perception, mountain runs are not so tough and for sure they are not reserved for advanced sportsman. It is enough to be an average fit person to take up the challenge. Benefits of such physical activity are countless.

So why mountain runs may be an alternative for those who do not feel comfortable with regular running?

  • Majority of mountain runs is really a mix of run and trek. Besides some elite runners almost all cover selected distances walking. Event the best runners do it since it is more economic. So intense physical effort is mixed with moments of rest.
  • Short stops are also a practice. Just to take a good picture or to have a quick rest.
  • Descents are also used as moments of rest.
  • Everybody knows that uphill section has to be followed by downhill run… 
  • The nature around makes an effort more easy.
  • There is no pressure – except in some cases time limit. We do not have to pay attention to the pace on each kilometer since we know that the tempo will change accordingly to the profile of the route.
  • Usually there is no possibility to leave the trail (or it just doesn’t make sense since you still have go over the hill).

Mountain runs deliver following benefits:

  • We activate muscles which are not activated during runs on flat surfaces.
  • We strengthen our feet – and it is an important step to avoid contusions. We work on different profiles, steps are not the same, there is no repetition in the movement, and it is a big advantage.
  • Without any additional exercise we work on stability, coordination and balance.

What do we need to keep in mind?

  • During the mountain run we are on our own – far from any civilization. In such situation equipment becomes to be an essential issue. It is important to chose good rucksack or running west, equip yourself with at least one liter of water, small first aid kit, glucose, NRC foil and other things).
  • Cross country shoes are usually essential – especially for the descent sections. Good contact with the surface is of the greatest value. We need to feel comfortable in such shoes since we will spend a lot of time wearing them.
  • Trekking polls might be of use especially for those who do not feel comfortable on downhill paths. They might be also useful for uphill sections. Sometimes polls may be disturbing so it makes sense to practice – make a few test runs. Available models are light, they fold so we can use them on selected sections of the trial.
  • Hats – one sun protective and one warm/ wind proof are required. Temperature differences might be extreme.

More hints and good practices to follow – hope this will help in your preparation for Runmageddon Caucasus.


Dominika Stelmach

World vice champion in long range mountain runs 2018, multiple medalist of mountain run championships in Poland, Polish marathon champion 2017, Runmageddon Sahara champion 2019.